09-08-2019

With the introduction of GDPR (28th May 2018) which as we know replaced the DPA (1998) and the knowledge of the UK going through BREXIT, GDPR will then be replaced with the DPB – the question all employers should be asking themselves is ‘are our policies up to date with the ever fast changes that we are experiencing’ especially in relation to the data we currently hold, process and how we use and manage it.

In 2 recent cases, the above has been brought into question, in relation to how this data may or may not be used in certain circumstances.

The cases in question have challenged a communication which took place in a private WhatsApp group during working hours and the other being a notification which was posted to an employee’s page, outside of working hours.

Both cases have raised challenging scenarios for HR professionals and those in employment Law, with a view of differencing of opinions.

Policies and procedures will need to be reviewed to see whether or not they allow an employer to gain access to an employee’s social media platforms to view and look for any derogative comments etc that may have an impact on another member of staff, this could also include viewing mobile phone communications and whether communications outside of working hours could too be challenged.

The cases in question are: -

PNC Global Logistics Vs Paul Wells and Roberto Solari – WhatsApp chat group regarding sexist comments against a female member of staff (sent during business working hours)

Forbes Vs London Heathrow Airport (Forbes bought the case against LHA – too see if they were liable for another employee), an employee posting a racist comment on her own social media platform (outside of working hours)

The initial outcome and understandings are that employers need to be aware of these cases and to revisit all policies – whether that be Data Protection Policy, Employer’s Privacy Policy, Disciplinary Policy, etc.


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